Victory go down to Reds


Melbourne Victory slumped to their first loss of the Hyundai A-League season, going down 1-0 to Adelaide United at Hindmarsh Stadium on Friday night.

Melbourne Victory slumped to their first loss of the Hyundai A-League season, going down 1-0 to Adelaide United at Hindmarsh Stadium on Friday night.

The Victory were forced to play most of the second half with just 10 men after captain Adrian Leijer picked up a second yellow card for holding in the 55th minute.

But by then United had already taken the lead via striker Sergio van Dijk.

A horror defensive blunder from Brazilian import Fabio allowed van Dijk to power home from outside the area in the 53rd minute with a brutal left-foot finish past a helpless Ante Covic.

It was a poor reflection on the game for the Victory custodian, who impressed with a number of first-class saves, but had a nervy start in goal, as the 36-year-old very nearly conceded an uncontested own goal early.

Victory manager Mehmet Durakovic made a double change with just over 20 minutes remaining, bringing on signing Jean Carlo Solorzano and Isaka Cernak, and the move almost paid dividends.

Solorzano caught Adelaide on the break, and despite having team-mates flowing down the right, the former Brisbane man went on his own, but had his shot blocked by Adelaide defender Osama Malik.

Cernak also threatened to equalise for the Victory in the final 10 minutes with an inspiring run into the area, but his run was quelled by some desperate Reds defending.

Returning attacker Carlos Hernandez almost snatched a point for the visitors, with a curling effort from long range that just tipped over Eugene Galekovic’s bar in the 89th minute.

Despite ending scoreless, the first 45 minutes was not bereft of chances, with Victory’s best opportunities featuring league-record signing Harry Kewell.

Kewell scuffed a shot on his non-preferred right boot in the 36th minute, after brilliant lead-up play involving rising star Marco Rojas and returning crowd favourite Hernandez.

Two minutes later, Victory should have led when Kewell atoned for his earlier miss as he chested down a long free-kick into the path of Leijer, but the centre-back could only poke his effort on the run wide.

At the other end, Reds skipper Jon McKain had a close-range header kept out by Victory’s newest hero Covic, as he produced a spectacular dive to his right to keep out the on-target effort.

Adelaide attacker Andwele Slory was a persistent threat to the Victory defence, and he forced a tough save from Covic with a long-range power strike – one the Melbourne goalkeeper failed to catch at the first attempt.

The first-half also saw some vintage Adelaide-Melbourne confrontations, with Slory and Leijer copping yellow cards after a small altercation after the Reds man dived in late in the tackle – with Leijer eventually made to pay for his first caution.

The result was Adelaide’s third consecutive win over the Victory, a streak that came after Melbourne’s memorable 10 wins in a row against the old rival.

Adelaide United 1 (van Dijk 53)
Melbourne Victory 0